DISD’s Most Inept Administrator: Shirley Ison-Newsome

Over at Channel 8, Brett Shipp brings us news that DISD assistant superintendent Shirley Ison-Newsome has stepped in it again. Despite a new district cost-saving ban on using external facilities for professional development or other meetings, Ison-Newsome approved a $1,500 bowling outing to Arlington for the staff of Wilmer Hutchins Elementary School. The dollar amount isn’t the big deal; the pattern of behavior is.

You’ll remember the credit card scandal back in 2006. Just about everyone in the district, it seemed, had one, and just about everyone was running up questionable charges. Ison-Newsome used her card to buy expensive pillows from the gift shop at Mount Vernon, in Virginia. Then she raised a stink when she ordered a $6,000 private bathroom built onto her office suite (just feet from a nearby bathroom that was in perfect working order). She was demoted at one point and sued the district. More recently, just this year, she approved a $57,000 field trip for 5,000 boys to watch the movie Red Tails, which violated federal guidelines for how Title 1 funds are to be spent. The deal is still under state investigation.

I wrote a story for our August issue about the new superintendent, Mike Miles. I heard the same refrain from multiple people: it was shocking and disheartening that Miles appointed Ison-Newsome as an assistant superintendent. Shipp reports that when DISD investigators looked into the bowling outing, Ison-Newsome told them she was the chief of schools and that “there are bigger problems to worry about than this.”

That attitude isn’t a healthy one. It’s what Mike Miles promised us he would change.


  • Billyboy

    Like many administrators and managers, his hands are tied.

  • Bangs

    @billyboy I strongly disagree. Miles came in with the tough talk and yet rehired (after the re-org) the #1 hack in the entire district. he lost credibility right there.

    she makes almost $200,000 a year. take the bowling trip out of her salary.

    Blackburn is your Board President and has no balls. The majority your board of trustees are horrible. As usual, they won’t do anything and still nobody votes. this is why young professionals with kids move out of Dallas. They can’t afford private school and a mortgage note.

    Administrative Bully, Shirley Ison-Newsome Gives Deposition as Part of a Lawsuit Against Dallas ISD

  • Bangs
  • Avid Reader

    I am shocked that Miles didn’t bring in some out of state assistant superintendent that was offered 200% of their existing salary.

  • Wes Mantooth

    Maybe he hasn’t even had coffee with Ison-Newsome yet?

  • Bangs

    “if she was an older white male, you wouldn’t care” – Mike Miles

  • A.D.

    “[R]aised a stink” about her bathroom? I see what you did there.

  • Zoe

    I wonder why smart, dedicated hard-working educators decide they don’t want to make 25% of this woman’s salary and they move on to greener pastures with better bosses. Hmmm…

  • Texas Educator

    This does not surprise me. Knowing the DISD, this type of behavior is common among top level administrators. The most sickening part is that we are paying a new superintendent to take care of business. Most of the left overs in DISD have no credentials, knowledge or integrity. I foresee a bumby ride ahead. The average experience of principals is 0-2 years. The average experience of teachers is about the same. The good veterans, leave to the suburbs, the teacher turnover is unbelievable. DISD likes to keep the sacred cows, because they know how to manipulate the rookies. Intimidation tactics, false stories, and bullying are a continual problem for these top administrators. Those who know better, leave and move on. I don’t know of any smart people with experience and credentials that are seeking to be employed by the DISD.